As startling and invigorating as an unexpected bucket of icy water over the head, the sound of Motörhead blasting cheerfully away with the accelerator floored is one of heavy music’s most consistently reliable pleasures.
A recent flurry of media exposure, not to mention the band’s now obligatory annual world tour, has smartly presaged The World Is Yours and drawn attention to the fact that this is their 20th studio album: a remarkable achievement by anyone’s standards, but one made all the more laudable when it becomes plain that this is one of the finest of the lot.
In truth, nothing much changes in Motörhead World: Lemmy, Phil Campbell and Mikkey Dee have been flying the flag for shredded eardrums and pickled livers as a three-piece since 1995, and they have barely put a foot wrong, particularly since they began to work with producer Cameron Webb (for 2004’s masterful Inferno). Webb’s gift is to capture the blistering, diaphragm-bruising assault of Motörhead’s live shows and to translate that into albums that demand to be listened to over and over again, just as recognised classics like Overkill and Ace Of Spades were 30 years ago.
As a result, the band themselves are on supreme form here, brimming with confidence as they blaze through some of their strongest material in years. Opener Born To Lose – the inevitable flipside, we can only assume, to Live To Win from Ace Of Spades – packs a massive punch, everything louder than everything else in true Motörhead fashion. It sounds like a classic in the making; brash, anthemic and hard as nails.
There are no ballads here, no acoustic excursions and absolutely nothing that suggests that Lemmy is going soft in his old age. In fact, this is as vicious as anything Motörhead have produced, with careering skull-crackers like I Know How To Die, Get Back In Line and Outlaw offering a straightforward diet of unstoppable riffs and rib-snapping kicks.
In terms of detours, the grinding menace of Brotherhood Of Man pitches Lemmy as a whisky-sodden harbinger of doom for the first time since Orgasmatron, the swaggering Waiting For The Snake kicks off with a riff that Zakk Wylde wouldn’t kick out of bed and the closing, shitkicker-shuffle of Bye Bye Bitch masks its snotty rage behind a façade of turbocharged Chuck Berry- isms.
Business as usual, then, but business is absolutely fucking booming.